A team at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have developed touch technology that could one day see everyday objects become as smart and responsive as the touchscreens people carry in their pockets today. A video on Disney Research's YouTube page shows off the technology, dubbed Touché, as well as a few proof-of-concept applications.
The technology is known as Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing, and it analyzes input from hundreds of data points, enabling the system to detect not only when a system is being touched, but also how many objects are touching it, what kind of objects are touching it, and in what way they are touching it. The technology even works submerged in liquid, allowing it to detect when the liquid is touched by users.
Disney is known for integrating technology into its theme parks, but the new technology, should it prove commercially applicable, opens the door to a wide range of uses. The concept video shows Touché being integrated with common objects, allowing for intelligent and interactive doorknobs and couches, as well as possibly turning users' own bodies into interactive touch surfaces to control electronics.